Friday, August 28, 2009


It's too damned hot here.

I'm sitting alone in an empty drop zone waiting area, watching the scorched air wash through the sparse forest of windsocks. John Lennon is singing to me over the speakers, softly begging me to shoot him. A tiny plane hustles quietly, almost furtively, down the dirt runway. Its dust forms long fingers to comb the landing grass. My skin prickles with the ovenish breeze; my eyes burn.

I'm not here because it's fun. Not now, anyway. It's much like motorcycling in that way; it took ride after ride after ride for me to feel the way the tires catch the road, for the throttle to have an easy conversation with my hand, for the heavy gear to feel more safe than awkward. Now, to nestle down over the bike and click through the gears, it's hard to remember being perched so insecurely. Sitting here today by the flightline, I remember so very well.

This place will fill with people tomorrow - most of them to be strapped into tandem harnesses, their first-time nervousness zinging through the space. I'll fill my head with counting and gestures and procedures, feeling the parachute like a pair of reassuring hands on my shoulders. I'll know where all my pins and handles and cables are. I'll remember to arch beautifully and pull cleanly. I'll fly. I'll flare. I'll keep my eyes on the horizon and settle gently to earth. I'll be just fine. And, for a few delicious moments in space, I'll be released from myself.

The fact remains, though, that I don't want to be here alone.

I'm in purgatory, and I know it. I'm grounded here, my six-month calendar showing a carefully-plotted course for a solid armful of actionable goals, and I'm chipping steadfastly away at them in a typically Annetteish way.

My heart, however? My heart is the Hound of the Baskervilles. It's on a long leash that's tied to my waist, and I'm wearing rollerskates.

I try to grab hold of something solid. I try to calm it down. I try to steer. I can't stop my heart from chasing every blissful little lark; from diving into the gaping maw of every insecurity. The solution to the problem, of course, is to cut the leash. I can't.

This is about so much more than blue eyes. This is, first and foremost, about diving headfirst into the world.

Still, I know that I wouldn't want it nearly this much without them.

The vulnerability of that unnerves me. Nothing is promised, and nothing is sure, and I'm unaccustomed to the nakedness of faith.

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